Nevada’s background check system has been utterly overwhelmed by the huge spike in background checks for guns during this coronavirus panic. While delays are understandable, the total failure of the phone and computer systems are unacceptable. Nevada has failed to ensure that this critical infrastructure would be functional in a crisis.
We know that the Firearms Unit phone system is unable to handle call volume and hanging up on dealers. We know that dealers must wait on hold for hours, if they can, to get to person. We know the computer systems are failing. We know that the fax number is so busy faxed requests can’t be sent. We know that the Firearms Unit is six employees under budget.
The Brady Background check bill touted an “instant” approval system. Nevada does not live up to this promise and the failures of the state to ensure a working system under foreseeable high demand has amounted to a denial of fundamental constitutional rights. This logjam of poor logistics and management is preventing people from bearing arms. It is a de facto waiting period and an arbitrary one at that because of state incompetence. Worst of all, firearm sales between private individuals is illegal because of a corrupt, hoplopathic legislature and governor.
Background checks need to be abolished in their current form (or totally). Nevada DPS (Dept. of Public Safety) needs to have it’s Point of Contact mission removed from it and the Silver State use the federal NICS. Overall, our country needs to move to a blind background check system accessible to dealer and citizen alike over a secure website.
In the mean time, DPS needs to immediately take the following steps.
Furthermore, Nevada needs to scrap its Point of Contact altogether. While it was a fine idea to incorporate local records, DPS has shown itself to be incapable of keeping the Firearms Unit properly staffed and unable to manage this huge and predictable spike in background checks. Nevada needs to transition to the federal NICS system that has great capacity, is available 24/7, and allows dealers to use an online portal.
If you would like to politely reach out to the DPS director and deputy director, their emails are below:
George Togliatti, Director
Sheri Brueggemann, Deputy Director